REVIEW: ROSWELL – SEASON 1-3

MAIN CAST
Shiri Appleby (Swimfan)
Jason Behr (Dragon Wars)
Katherine Heigl (27 Dresses)
Majandra Delfino (Traffic)
Brendan Fehr (Bones)
Colin Hanks (King Kong)
Nick Wechsler (Revenge)
William Sadler (Iron Man 3)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
John Doe (Torque)
Michael Horse (Skinwalkers)
Wendle Josepher (Twister)
Kevin Weisman (Alias)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Richard Schiff (The Cape)
Julie Benz (Angel)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Ghostbusters 2)
Michael O’Neill (Bates Motel)
Robert F. Lyons (The Burning Dead)
Jason Peck (In Her Shoes)
Ebonie Smith (Xena)
Steve Hytner (The Prophecy)
Jo Anderson (Beauty and The Beast 1989)
Octavia Spencer (Mom)
Tod Thawley (Buffy)
Hilary Shepard (Power Rangers Turbo)
Eric Jungmann (Sabrina)
Diane Farr (Two and A Half Men)
Ned Romero (Walker, Texas Ranger)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)
John Cullum (The Middle)
James O’Shea (Life on Top)
Michael Chieffo (Wild Things 2)
Kevin Cooney (Bring it On Again)
David Conrad (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jim Ortlieb (Contagion)
Emilie de Ravin (Lost)
Liz Parker, Maria DeLuca, and Alex Whitman are high school students and best friends residing in the small town of Roswell, New Mexico, site of the famed Roswell incident. Liz Parker’s parents own the Crashdown Café, which serves alien-themed dishes, and while Liz is waitressing there, a disagreement between two customers results in Liz being fatally shot, setting the scene for the entire series. Fellow student Max Evans rushes to her side and heals the wound by placing his hand over it, bringing her back to life. He left a silver hand print on her stomach. This act arouses suspicions which follow the protagonists throughout the series. Max attempts to cover the mysterious act by breaking a ketchup bottle and pouring the ketchup on Liz before fleeing the scene with Michael.
During a biology class experiment the next day, Liz obtains a sample of Max’s saliva without his knowledge and examines it under a microscope. She discovers Max’s cells look nothing like human cells. She confronts Max, who then admits he, his sister Isabel and their friend Michael are aliens whose spaceship crashed at Roswell in 1947. Max, Isabel, and Michael were known to keep to themselves before the incident. Max admits to Liz he saved her life because he has strong feelings for her and the struggling romance between Liz and Max begins in earnest. However, Liz was dating the sheriff’s son Kyle, causing many torn feelings and creative excuses, as well as tension between Max and Kyle. In the first episode Max Evans swears Liz to secrecy, but she tells Maria about Max’s origins anyway. Tension around the secrecy issue becomes a major theme both in the development of the relationships of the protagonists, and also for the action elements of the plot. Eventually Alex is let into the secret, resolving the tension between best friends Liz, Maria, and Alex. This group of six teenagers are involved in a struggle to protect the alien trio from Sheriff Valenti, suspicious of them from the first episode and who alerts the FBI, and from FBI agents investigating the paranormal who secretly attempt to discover evidence of their real identities by fair means or foul.
In contrast to the romance tenderly portrayed between Liz and Max, Michael and Maria engage in a passionate and often explosive relationship – Maria terms Michael “the worst boyfriend ever”. Later in the first season a tentative romance develops between Isabel and Alex.
Toward the end of the season another alien named Nasedo is introduced, who is a shape shifter. Nasedo has a violent, murderous past and nearly causes Max’s demise at the hands of a vengeful alien hunter who lost his wife and unborn child to Nasedo. The gang initially believes Tess Harding, the new kid in town, is Nasedo as she seems to have a strange effect on Max, but it is revealed she is a fourth alien hybrid just like them. However, unlike them, she possesses knowledge of their past lives and the concept of their supposed destiny. At the end of the season, it is revealed that Max, Isabel, Michael and Tess are clones of the Royal Four of Antar, the planet they come from. Max is the king, Isabel his sister, Michael his second in command and Tess is Max’s wife. The four learn they are alien-human hybrids: their alien DNA was mixed with human DNA in order for them to assume human form and survive on earth. Their mission is to one day return to Antar and reclaim the throne from Kivar, Max’s enemy. As a result of this revelation, Liz distances herself from Max, as she believes she can’t get in the way of Max’s destiny.
One of the best TV shows I ever watched. Bought it to relive my childhood memories, and it did not disappoint.
MAIN CAST
Shiri Appleby (Swimfan)
Jason Behr (Dragon wars)
Katherine Heigl (27 Dresses)
Majandra Delfino (R.S.V.P.)
Brendan Fehr (The Forsaken)
Colin Hanks (Untraceable)
Nick Wechsler (Tru Calling)
Emilie de Ravin (Lost)
William Sadler (Iron Man 3)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
David Conrad (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Jim Ortlieb (Contagion)
Gretchen Egolf (Journeyman)
Jeremy Davidson (Salt)
Jason Peck (In Her Shoes)
Sara Downing (Toolbox Murder)
Desmond Askew (Tru Calling)
J.G. Hertzler (Star Trek: DS9)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Ghostbusters 2)
Charles Napier (The Silence of The Lambs)
John Doe (Torque)
Miko Hughes (Newe Nightmare)
Holmes Osborne (Donnie Darko)
Jenny O’Hara (Mystic Pizza)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)
Michael Chieffo (Wild Things 2)
Diane Farr (Two and a Half Men)
Keith Szarabajka (Angel)
Allison Lange (Single White Female 2)
Erica Gimpel (Freaky Friday)
Heidi Swedberg (Hot Shots)
Dennis Christopher (Fade To Black)
Taran Killam (How I Met Your Mother)
Jo Anderson (Beauty and The Beast 1989)
Jason Dohring (Veronica Mars)
 
The second part of Max and Liz’s love story involves Liz’s insecurities about getting in the way of the destined love between Max and Tess, even though Max assures her his heart only beats for her. This causes a rift between Tess and the rest of the gang, as she always feels unwanted. Right when Liz finally starts to believe Max will deny his destiny of being with Tess, the “Future Max” appears to Liz claiming they must find a way to get Max to fall out of love with Liz in order to save the future and the lives of everyone they know. This leads to a relationship between Max and Tess. Despite this, Liz maintains hope she and Max will one day be together.
The second season introduces the Skins, another alien race from Antar who have been searching for the alien hybrids since they hatched. Their mission is to locate and turn them over to Kivar, who is now king of Antar. It is revealed Liz’s new boss, Congresswoman Whitaker, is a Skin, and her brother Nicholas is the leader of the Skins. Along with renegade Skin Courtney, a Crashdown Café waitress, who believes Michael, not Max, should have been in charge of Antar, the group travels to the town where Congresswoman Whitaker is from and discovers the entire town is inhabited by Skins and that the Skins are ready for the “Harvest”. Skins unlike “The Royal Four” do not contain a mix of alien and human DNA. In order to survive Earth’s climate they create husks (fake bodies) which last around 50 years. Skins are so called because once their husks start to reach the end of their shelf lives, they shed their skin.
Nasedo, the shape shifter who was protecting the teen aliens as well as acting as a father to Tess, is killed by Congresswoman Whitaker at the beginning of the season. As Tess has nowhere to go, she moves in with Sheriff Valenti and his son Kyle. Shortly after, the “pod squad” destroys the Harvest. It is revealed during the “Harvest” that Isabel was named Vilandra on Antar. Vilandra was in love with Kivar, Max’s enemy and rival, and betrayed her family in favor of Kivar. This haunts Isabel so much it creates a rift between her and Max when they find out another set of clones of the Royal Four were created. The clones, known as the “dupes”, are exact copies of Michael, Max, Isabel and Tess, only they grew up in the sewers of New York City. Their names are Rath (Michael’s clone), Zan (Max’s clone), Lonnie (Isabel’s clone), and Ava (Tess’s clone).
Rath, Lonnie, and Ava come to Roswell after killing Zan to convince Max to return with them and represent the family at a summit meeting of the families of the five warring planets. Max and Tess go with Rath and Lonnie to New York, while Ava stays in Roswell because she is haunted by the death of her beloved Zan. Nicholas returns as a voice for Kivar, and it is revealed the owner of the UFO museum, Brody Davis, was used by an alien many times to communicate on Earth, acting as a puppet, explaining why he believes he was abducted by aliens although he has no memories of the incident. Rath and Lonnie tell Tess and Max if they give Kivar the Granilith (the rock which came with the “pod squad” when they landed on Earth), they can go home to Antar. Max remembers what Liz told him before he left — “the Granilith could be dangerous if in the wrong hands” and turns down Kivar’s deal. Lonnie betrays the others when she meets with Nicholas in secret to discuss her desire to return to Antar, as she remembers more about her past life and wants it back, regardless of whether Kivar gets the Granilith. Nicholas tells her that can be arranged as long as Max is dead. The assassination attempt fails, and Rath and Lonnie “disappear”. Ava, still in Roswell, goes to live a “normal” life and is also not mentioned again; however, she does reveal to Liz that since Max healed her and brought her back she has “changed” and will be different from now on.
For part of the second season, Alex is on a trip to Sweden. However, shortly after coming back and getting Isabel to see him as something more than a friend and start to love him, he dies tragically in a car accident. Liz is devastated when she discovers the police have evidence to rule Alex’s death a suicide. Investigating the wreck, she finds a torn photo of Alex, causing her to suspect that he was murdered. When Liz voices the possibility that an alien killed Alex, she causes tension between the aliens and the humans in the group. Through her investigation, she discovers Alex was never in Sweden, but had actually been living at a Las Cruces college. Liz, Maria, and Michael find out Alex had been working on the translation of the Destiny book. Even though they find the translation, they are unable to discover the identity of Alex’s killer.
As Max is angry towards Liz and her investigations, he grows closer to Tess and they end up sleeping together. Tess discovers that she is pregnant and informs Max that alien pregnancies last about a month. The baby can’t survive on Earth, so the aliens make a collective decision to leave the planet, with the knowledge gleaned from the Destiny translation. Everyone has 24 hours to say their goodbyes. Max and Liz make a last-ditch effort to find Alex’s killer. Isabel dances with Alex’s spirit at his grave. Michael and Maria make love for the first time. Just before the aliens are to leave, Maria and Liz realize that Tess mindwarped Kyle, and Kyle is able to recall Alex’s death. Michael decides at the last minute that he’d rather stay on Earth with Maria and exits the Granilith. Liz rushes in to tell Max that Tess was the one who killed Alex. Tess reveals that she mindwarped Alex to translate the book. Nasedo made a deal with Kivar: Tess can return home safely as long as she’s carrying Max’s child, but she must turn over Max, Isabel, and Michael to Kivar. Max lets Tess go and the gang watches as Tess leaves Earth via the Granilith. Maria realizes Michael stayed for her. Max tells Liz he loves her, and now he must save his son.
This second series of Roswell is the best by far. The characters are more familiar, and the storyline develops nicely, tugging at the heartstrings on many occassions.  There seems to be more of a general storyline in this series, though there are still many smaller subliners. The end episode (“Departure”) is one of my favourites – along with “The End Of The World” and “Cry Your Name”, and I think that all three deserve praise for their sensitivity towards the storylines and just for the great standard of acting not seen so much in the previous series.
MAIN CAST
Shiri Appleby (Swimfan)
Jason Behr (Dragon wars)
Katherine Heigl (27 Dresses)
Majandra Delfino (R.S.V.P.)
Brendan Fehr (The Forsaken)
Colin Hanks (Untraceable)
Nick Wechsler (Tru Calling)
William Sadler (Iron Man 3)
Adam Rodriguez (Ugly Betty)
RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS
Mary Ellen Trainor (Ghostbusters 2)
Jo Anderson (Beauty and The Beast 1989)
Garrett M. Brown (Kick-Ass)
Michael Chieffo (Wild Things 2)
Yorgo Constantine (Phone Booth)
John Doe (Torque)
Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
Michael Peña (American Hustle)
Earl Poitier (Drumline)
Steven Roy (Shattered)
Martin Starr (Knocked Up)
Colin Hanks (King Kong)
Stanley Anderson (Spider-Man)
John Billingsley (Enterprise)
Joe Pantoliano (Daredevil)
Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog Day)
Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: TNG)
Missi Pyle (Dodgeball)
Spence Decker (Looking for Sunday)
Clayne Crawford (A Walk To Remember)
Gavin Fink (Lost at Home)
Colleen Flynn (Nip/Tuck)
Sean O’Bryan (Agent Carter)
Navi Rawat (Thoughtcrimes)
Yvonne Farrow (Alias)
Kristoffer Polaha (Dollhouse)
Meredith Scott Lynn (Legally Blonde)
Morgan Fairchild (Chuck)
Ashley Johnson (Teen Titans)
Jason Peck (In Her Shoes)
Harry Groener (Buffy)
Woody Brown (The Accussed)
Samantha Shelton (Shopgirl)
Larry Poindexter (Blade: The Series)
Emilie de Ravin (Lost)
The third and final season opens with Max’s quest to save his son. He and Liz are arrested in Utah after holding up a convenience store. They both end up getting out of jail, but their actions have serious consequences for the rest of the season. Liz’s father, who disapproves of the relationship throughout the series, threatens to send Liz to a boarding school, in attempt to split the couple up. Max, during the holdup, found an alien ship being stored in the basement, but when he goes back, the ship is gone. While they are in a Utah jail, Michael searches for evidence of a diamond (the key to the space ship) that Max tossed in a field while being chased. A man approaches Michael and warns him and the others to stop their search. This man is mysteriously murdered in L.A. by a fifth alien. Knowing the alien is a shape shifter and in the film industry, Max tries out acting and auditions for a role in Star Trek: Enterprise. The fifth alien is, in fact, a very successful film producer who is also Max’s protector. Max, against the fifth alien’s wishes, forces him to help find the ship, which is at a military base. They attempt to fly it, but the ship is too damaged from the crash in 1947. Max leaves L.A. disappointed, and he feels as though he has let down his son.
Isabel is revealed to be haunted by Alex’s ghost, but it is actually a figure of her subconscious. She begins a relationship with Jesse Ramirez, an attorney several years older than her and who works with Isabel’s father. As the season unfolds, Max and Isabel’s father is diving deeper into the past of his children, due to Max not giving him a satisfactory reason as to what happened in Utah, or why Max was even there in the first place. Midway through the season, Isabel gets married, much to the disappointment of her parents, Max, and Michael. While on her honeymoon with Jesse, Isabel comes in contact with Kivar. He awakens Isabel’s past self, Vilandra, who betrayed Max and Michael in their previous life for her love with Kivar, which is the reason the four of them died in their first life. Kivar tries to compel Isabel (now reawakened as Vilandra) to travel through a portal back to their home world, while Max and Michael attempt to stop them. In the end, Isabel pushes Kivar into the portal.
Michael and Maria are having trouble with their relationship, especially when Maria feels the whole “alien thing” is ruining her life and decides to take a break from the gang so she can try to live out a “normal” life. Michael takes a job as a security guard during the night at a local pharmaceutical factory. But little does Michael know, the owner of the company has been going through the trash to obtain Michael’s DNA. When the owners find out he is an alien, they kill one of Michael’s co-workers “Munk” to see if Michael is “the healer”. But of course Max is the healer, not Michael, so he is powerless to save his dying colleague. Michael and Former Sheriff Valenti find a room with all of Michael’s things and realize what the company has discovered; Valenti, however, is captured. Michael enlists the help of Max and Isabel in order to rescue Valenti. During the escape attempt Valenti is shot near the heart from behind. As Max is saving Valenti’s life he is taken by the millionaire’s desperate wife and goons and coerced into healing the dying millionaire. Max is wary of doing so, as the millionaire has lived out his life and will die of natural causes, but he tries anyway. Max ends up transferring his youth, and the millionaire’s body transforms into Max’s body, killing Max. While Michael and Isabel try to come to grips with Max’s death, a patrol of guards come. Michael and Isabel use their powers to destroy their vehicles, but Isabel is shot.Jesse sees the shooting and panics, insisting that they call an ambulance. Michael is forced to admit to Jesse that he and Isabel are aliens to keep Jesse from calling the authorities. Michael unknowingly inherited Max’s powers after his death, and then he heals Isabel during an emotional moment. The millionaire is at his house in Max’s body when he receives a memory of Liz. He can’t stop thinking about her, due to having Max’s soul inside him, so he decides he must kill Liz in order to get rid of Max. He travels to Vermont with his reluctant wife to find Liz. He murders his wife then sets his sights on Liz. As he is about to kill Liz, they both fall from the ‘Rat’ (Rathskeller) attic window of Liz’s boarding school. Seeing Liz is about to die, Max takes control over the body and uses his powers to save her life while he hits the ground. The millionaire’s soul dies and Max miraculously survives after Liz kisses him. The group heads back to Roswell.
Meanwhile, the FBI has been studying the group for many months and is closing in on them. Liz begins to exhibit alien powers, including premonitions, towards the end of the season, which later causes her to become a target. When Tess returns with Max’s son, Zan, the gang must group together and plan to escape Roswell. Tess’ unexpected arrival causes the FBI to find more evidence of the aliens, including a video revealing Isabel’s powers. Everyone is angry with Tess and at first tries to kill her, but instead end up helping her. Because of Liz’s forgiveness, Tess decides to sacrifice herself by turning herself in and blowing up the military base. The baby is revealed to be fully human, as only Max’s and Tess’ human DNA produced the baby. Max, realizing his son can have a normal life, gives him up for adoption; showing the Evans’ parents driving the child away to New York.
The series closes with Liz getting a premonition of her, Max, Michael and Isabel dying in an FBI setup, so they decide to leave Roswell after their high school graduation. With the realization he will be leaving Roswell, possibly forever, Michael professes his love for Maria and she makes the decision to be with him no matter what. After Liz, Max, Michael, Isabel, Maria and Kyle escape from their high school graduation, where the FBI setup is, they hit the road in a van, where there are several emotional goodbyes, especially between Kyle and his father, Jim Valenti. Isabel decides to leave her husband behind in order to save his life. The final scenes of the show feature Max and Liz getting married and Liz’s father reading her journal, chronicling the last three years. The final scene has Liz peering out of the van in her wedding dress and narrating, “I’m Liz Parker and I’m happy”.
As most of the Roswell die-hard fans will know it’s a great shame that the series was axed after only 3 short years.The acting is flawless, the writing and directing is a work of art.
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REVIEW: BROKEDOWN PALACE

CAST

Claire Danes (Termiantor 3)
Kate Beckinsale (Underworld)
Bill Pullman (Lost Highway)
Jacqueline Kim (Star Trek: Generations)
Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe)
Paul Walker (The Fast and The Furious)
John Doe (Roswell)

Brokedown Palace has an intriguing premise: two best friends (Kate Beckinsale and Claire Danes) fresh from high school are on their summer vacation in Thailand, but are arrested for possession of narcotics, found guilty and sentenced to 33 years in a women’s prison.

Bill Pullman also stars in the picture as an American lawyer named Hank Greene, who feels for the girls’ plight and fights to prove their innocence. But the real focus is on Beckinsale and Danes, whose wonderful performances are the anchor to the film’s drama and moral quandaries. Beckinsale’s Darlene is the more reserved and quieter of the two, the kind of person who sort of follows her friend without question, and certainly not the type to take unwarranted risks (unless her friend persuades her to). She’s almost a direct opposite of Danes’ Alice, whose outgoing and semi-rebellious behavior is the indirect link to their current troubles.The film slinks to melodrama in its climactic moments, but still rings true thanks to the tour-de-force turns from Beckinsale and Danes. It’s an open-ended question as to whether or not either of the girls committed the crime of smuggling narcotics, and such ambiguity might upset some, but I liked not knowing for certain, and it’s not as if it makes the final scenes any less believable.